4-H Foundation History

"The Founding Board of Trustees of the Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation of 1970 are pictured above. They dedicated the foundation to “citizenship, leadership, and scholarship.” Seated from left to right: Dr. B.P. Cardon, Roy Swisher, Harry Schrader, Clayton Hakes. Standing are Thomas Cubbage, George Grantham, Dr. Howard Jones, William MacBeth, William Wilcox, E.N Blake and Dr. George Hull."


It was Graham P. Wright who served as the State 4-H Leader (Director) from 1954 to 1972 and helped found the Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation --- one of the first of its kind in the nation.

The Foundation’s Articles of Incorporation were signed by Wright, Dr. Howard E. Jones, Dr. George E. Hull and attorney S. Earl Pugh, Jr, on September 22, 1970. Mr. Pugh was appointed as the designated statutory agent for the corporation. The following “who’s who” list of Arizona  Extension, corporate and agriculturalists were selected as the initial trustees of the corporation.

Mr. Albert Sims                       Mr. Les Pinson

Mr. Ernest Chilson                  Mr. Carter Nelms

Mr. J. Dee Flake                      Mr. Tom Cubbage

Mr. Victor Corbell                   Mr. George Grantham

Mr. Var Blake                          Dr. Bart P. Cardon

Mr. Roy Swisher                      Mr. William Wilcox

Mr. Delbert Pierce                  Mr. Albert Autry

Dr. George E. Hull                   Dr. Howard E. Jones

The Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation began in September 1970 but operated separately from the main college Development Office. Its purpose was to promote and support the 4-H Youth Development Program of the University of Arizona. Bart Cardon, who was one of the initial Trustees, later became the dean of the College of Agriculture in 1980. Standard Oil Co. of California represented by J.R. Barker of Phoenix made the foundation’s first gift – a $3200 grant. According to records, a prime effort will be “aimed towards raising funds to establish a permanent youth camp and 4-H learning center.”

Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation in the 1980’s

Geraldine (Gerry) Eberline served as the 4-H Foundation Executive Director from1979-1990. The State 4-H Program was led by Howard Jones from1981-1982 and Beryl Burt from 1984-1988 when his title became Assistant Director for 4-H.

Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation in the 1990’s

The 4-H Foundation Development Officers/Executive Directors were:

  • John Engen, 1995-1999
  • Stuart Shepherd, 1990-1995

From 1990-1993, Frank Williams served as the Assistant Director of the State 4-H Program. William Peterson took the reins as Assistant Director of 4-H from 1995-2005.

Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation in the 2000’s

Joseph Leisz as Executive Director from 1999-2005.  Lee Dueringer took the reins in 2006, but due to Foundation finances, the position was vacated in 2008. Dueringer continued serving on the Foundation Board of Trustees until 2012 when he took a new position in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Development and Alumni Office.

Deborah Flowers Lester served as the Development Consultant for the Foundation from 2017-2020. In October of 2020 Deborah began serving as the executive director of the Arizona 4-H Youth Foundation.